With the many public holidays and commemorative days decorating our calendar, it’s hard to remember which ones are truly worth the celebration. Every year on 31 January those with a bibulous bend should not forget to raise their cocktail glass in a toast to Brandy Alexander Day – the only cocktail to have a day officially named in its honour.
By Jana du Plessis
There is little consensus on the origins of Brandy Alexander. Most notably the first appearance of this decadent cocktail are owed to the wedding reception of Princess Mary and Viscount Lascelles in London in 1922. However, Russian Tsar Alexander II believed that it was name after him, while Alexander Dragon, a famous opera critic, thought himself to be the claimer of this boozy delight.
Regardless of its origin, we do know that the Brandy Alexander was developed from an earlier cocktail simply called the Alexander which used gin instead of brandy. The Brandy Alexander has a smoother and slightly sweeter feel than the gin-infused original and went on to claim international fame and favour on cocktail lists in swankey bars and clubs. The cocktail proved to be very popular in pre- and post-war England and made a resurgence in the USA during the 1970s, becoming somewhat of a cultural icon with numerous endorsements in songs, books, film and television.
In learning this, what better way to celebrate this auspicious day than with a Brandy Alexander with friends or family? It’s a simple cocktail with a basic mix of 1 part brandy, 1 part liqueur and 1 part cream with nutmeg to dust. And you can very easily turn it into a decadent dessert by adding a scoop of vanilla or chocolate ice cream. Happy Brandy Alexander Day!
Brandy Alexander cocktail
1 part crème de cacao (alternatively use any good chocolate liqueur such as Klipdrift Black Gold)
1 part Van Ryn’s 10 year old brandy
1 part cream
Nutmeg, to dust
1. Add the crème de cacao, brandy and cream to a cocktail shaker, fill the shaker halfway with ice cubes and shake for about 30 seconds or until the outside of the shaker begins to frost.
2. Strain into a cocktail glass or martini glass that has been chilled in the freezer. Garnish with a sprinkle of nutmeg and you’re ready to celebrate Brandy Alexander Day in style.